Many of the theories in present day psychology are derived from the preexisting theories of psychology. Branches of current psychology have roots dating back to the philosophy of ancient Greek times. To understand these current theories, and ways of thinking, it is important to understand the history of psychology. Many historical figures have contributed to the current field of psychology, specifically, to psychology as a science. John B. Watson was a well-known behavioral psychologist who contributed to psychology by introducing behaviorism to the field, and pushing for psychology to be known as a science of observable behavior. To fully understand the impact of his role in psychology on the acceptance of psychology as a science, it is
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After graduation, Watson went on to teach school in Greenville, while he applied to Princeton and the University of Chicago. It was also during this time that his mother passed away. In 1900, he began working towards his doctorate degree in psychology at the University of Chicago, where he studied under James Angell. Angell’s work was in functional psychology, which focuses on different mental operations and believes that mind and body are not separated, but act together. At the time, functionalism promoted studies on animal behavior, child psychology, and habit formation, all of which can be seen in Watson’s later works (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2014).
Inspired by the concepts he was learning, Watson began to contemplate whether humans could be understood without involving introspection, a technique developed by Wundt, which involves analyzing one’s own thoughts (Wade & Tavris, 2008). After voicing these thoughts, he was discouraged by Angell, and went on to complete his dissertation in 1903 “Animal Education: The Psychical Development Of The White Rat, Correlated With The Growth Of Its Nervous System”, in which he examined the development of medullation in the central nervous system and the point at which the rats were considered mature (Watson, 1903). He then graduated from The University